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1000ft of liagalionD^ ani) MtQQaxn: 




IN THE YEAR 1528. 









9S a pi£ture of the manners and cuftoms of the 
Vagabond population of Central Europe before 
I the Reformation, I think this little book, the 
earlieft of its kind, will be found interefting. The fiA of 
Luther writing a Prefece and editing it gives it at once 
fome degree of importance, and excites the curiofity of the 

In this country the Liber Vagatorum is almoft un- 
known, and in Germany only a few fcholars and anti- 
quaries are acquainted with the book. 

In tranllating it I have endeavoured as much as poffible 
to preferve the fpirit and peculiarities of the original. 
Some may objcfl to the ftyle as being too antique ; but 
this garb I thought preferved a fmall ponion of the original 

vi Preface. 

quaintiiefs, and was beft fuited to the period when it was 

For feveral explanations of old German words, and 
other hints, I am indebted to a long notice of the Liher 
Vagatorum^ which occurs in the '' Wiemarifches Jahr- 
buch," 10% Band, 1856, — the only article of any moment 
that I know to have been written on the little book. 

With refpedl to the facfimile woodcut, as it was too 
larg^ to occupy a place on the title, as in the original (of 
4to. fize), it is here given as a frontifpiece. 

Perhaps fome apology is required for the occafional ufe 
of plain-fpoken, not to fay coarfe words. I can only urge, 
in juftification of their adoption, that the nature of the 
fubjeft would not admit of their being foftened, — unlefs 
indeed at the expenfe of the narrative. As it is, I have 
fent forth this edition in very much more refined language 
than the great Reformer thought neceflary when ifliiing 
the old German verfion. 

J. C. H. 

June I, i860. 




Introduction ix 

Mendicant Friars. — Schreiber's defcription of 
the Golden Age for Mendicants. — Knebel's 
Chronicles of the Trials at Baile, in 1475. — Sebaftian 

Liber Vagatorum. — ^Various editions. — Gengenbach's 
metrical verfion ; Godecke's claim for the priority of 
this refuted xv 

Martin Luther. — Occupied in the work of the Refor- 
mation.— Writes feveral popular pieces. — Edits the 
Liler Vagatorum xix 

English Books on Vagabonds. — Harman's Caveat for 
commen Cvrfetors. — The Fratemitye of Vacabondes. 
— Greene, Decker, and Shakefpeare xxiv 

Ancient Customs of English Beggars. — Licences with 
Seals. — Seals now difufed. — ^Wandering Students or 
Vagabond Scholars xxviii 

German Origin of tricks practised by English Vaga- 
bonds. — Matters of the Black-Art. — Fawney Riggers. 
—Card-Sharpers. — ^Begging-Letter-Writers. — Shabby- 

viii Contents. 


Genteels. — Mechanics out of employ. — Shivering 
Jemmies. — Maimers of Children. — ^Borrowers of Chil- 
dren. — Simulated Fits. — Quack Do6lors. — ^Treafure- 

Seekers. — Travelling Tinkers xxxi 

Old German Cant Words xxxvi 


Luther's Preface 3 

Part I. — ^The several Orders of Vagabonds ... 7 

Part II. — ^Notabilia relating to Beggars . . . *. 43 

Part III. — Vocabulary of Cant Words .... 49 


VAGABONDS and Beggars are ancienr 

1 blots in the hiftory of the world. Idle- 

nefsj I fuppofe, exifted before civiliza- 

' tion began, but feigned diftrefs muft 

certwnly have been praftifed foon after. 

In the records of the Middle Ages enaAments 
for the fuppreffion and ordering of vagrancy con- 
tinually occur. In this country, as we Ihall fee di- 
redly, laws for its abolifhment were palled at a very 
early date. 

The begging fyftem of the Friars, perhaps more 

than any other caufe, contributed to fwell the ranks 

of vagabonds. Thefe religious mendicants, who had 

long been increafing innumber and dilTolutenefs, gave 


X IntroduSiton. 

to beggars fundry leffons in hypocrify, and taught 
them, in their tales of fiditious diftrefs, how to blend 
the troubles of the foul with the infirmities of the 
body. Numerous fyftems of religious impofture 
were foon contrived, and mendicants of a hundred 
orders {warmed through the land. Things were at 
their worft, or rather both friars and vagabonds 
were in their palmieft days, towards the latter part 
of the fifteenth century, juft before the fuppreflion 
of the Religious Houfes commenced, and imme- 
diately before the firft fymptoms of the Reformation 
ftiowed themfelves, — that great movement which 
was fo foon to fweep one of the two pefts away for 

In Schreiber's account of the Bettler-induftrie 
(begging pradices) of Germany in the year 1475, he 
thus fpeaks of this golden age for mendicants * His 
theory, as to the origin of the complicated fyftem of 
mendicity, is, perhaps, more fanciful than true, but 

* Tafchenbuch fur Gejchichte und Alterthum in Sud-Deutfcb' 
iandf von Heinrich Schreiber, Fribourg, 1839, p. 333. The 
Bafle MSS. are here reprinted without any alteration. 

IntroduSiion. xi 

his account is neverthelefs very interefting, and well 
worth extracting from. 

" The beggars of Germany rejoiced in their 
Golden Age; it extended throughout nearly two 
centuries, from the invafions of the Turks until after 
the conclufion of the Swedifh war (1450 to 1650). 
During this long period it was frequently the cafe 
that begging was pradifed lefs from neceflity than 
for pleafure ; — indeed, it was purfued like a regular 
calling. For poetry had eftranged herfelf from the 
Nobility ; knights no longer went out on adventures 
to feek giants and dragons, or to liberate the Holy 
Tomb; fhe had likewife become more and more 
alien to the Citizen, fince he confidered it unwife to 
brood over verfes and rhymes, when he was called 
upon to calculate his profits in hard coin. Even the 
* Sons of the Mufes,' the Scholars, had become more 
profaic, fince there was fo much to learn and fo 
many univerfities to vifit, and the matters could no 
longer wander from one country to another with 
thoufands of pupils. 

xii IntroduSiion. 

"Then poetry (as everything in human life 
gradually defcends) began to ally herfelf with beg- 
gars and vagrants. That which formerly had been 
misfortune and mifery became ibon a fort of free 
art, which only retained the maflc of mifery in order 
to purfue its courfe more fafely and undifturbed. 
Mendicity became a diftind inftitution, was divided 
into various branches, and was provided with a 
language of its own. Doubtlefs, befides the fre- 
quent wars, it was the Gipfies — appearing in Ger- 
many, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, in 
larger fwarms than ever — who contributed greatly 
to this ftate of things. They formed entire tribes 
of wanderers, as free as the birds in the air, now 
difperfing themfelves, now reuniting, refting where- 
ever forefts or moors pleafed, or ftupidity and fuper- 
ftition allured them, poffefling nothing, but appro- 
priating to themfelves the property of everybody, 
by ftratagem or rude force. 

" In what manner and to what extent fuch beg- 
gary had grown up and branched off towards the 

IntroduSiion. xiii 

clofe of the fifteenth century, what artifices and 
even what language thefe beggars ufed to employ, 
is fhown us in Johann Knebel's Chronicles, the 
MSS. of which are preferved in the Library of the 
City and Univerfity of Bale." 

Thefe MSS. are very curious. They contain the 
proceedings of the Trials at Bafle,* in Switzerland, 
in 1475, when a great number of vagabonds, ftrol- 
lers, blind men, and mendicants of all orders, were 
arretted and examined. Johann Knebel was the 
chaplain of the cathedral there, and wrote them 
down at the time. From the reports of thefe trials 
it is believed the Liber Vagatorum was compiled; 
and it is alfo conjedured that, from the fame rich 
fource, Sebaftian Brant, who juft at that period had 
eftablifhed himfelf at the Univerfity of Bafle, where 

* Thefe Trials are alfo recorded in an old MS. of Hieron. 
Wilb, Ebner, printed in Job. Heumanni Exercitationes iuris 
univerjty vol. I. (Altdorii, 1749, 4°*) No. XIII. Obfervatio de 
lingua occulta, pp. 174-180. Both Knebel and Ebner's accounts 
differ merely in flyle and dialed^ ; in all elTential points they clofely 

xiv ^IntroduEiion. 

he remained until 1500, drew the vivid defcription 
of beggars and begging, to be found in his Ship of 

Knebel gives a long lift of the different orders of 
beggars, and the names they were known by amongft 
themfelves. This account is fimilar to, only not 
fb fpirited as that given in the Liber Fagatorum, 
The tricks and impoftures are very nearly the fame, 
together with the cant terms for the various tribes 
of mendicants. Knebel, (peaking of the manner in 
which the tricks of thefe rogues were firft found 
out, fays : — " At thofe times a great number of 
knaves went about the country begging and an- 
noying people. Of thefe feveral were caught, and 
they told how they and their fellow-knaves were 
known, and when and how they ufed to meet, what 
they were called, and they told alfo feveral of their 
cant words." 

* Brant wrote this work, and fuperintendcd its progrefs through 
the prefs whilll reliding in this city. 

IntroduEiion. xv 

HE Liier Vagatorumy or The Book of Va- 
gaiondSyV/^ probably written fhortly after 
1509, that year being mentioned in the 
work ; it is the earlieft book on beggars and their 
fecret language of which we have any record, — pre- 
ceding by half a century any fimilar work iflued in 
this country. 

Nothing is known of the author other than 
that it was written by one who ftyled himfelf a 
" Reverend Magifter, nomine expertus in truffis," — 
which proficiency in roguery, as Luther remarks, 
" the little book very well proves, even though he 
had not given himfelf fuch a name." 

None of the early impreffions bears a date, but the 
firft edition is kown to have been printed at Augf- 
burg, about the year 1512-14, by Erhart Oglin, or 
Ocellus.* It is a fmall quarto, confifting of 1 2 leaves. 

* This printer carried on bulinefs at Augfburg, partly alone, 
partly in connexion with others, from 1505 to 15 16. His 
editions of the Liier Vagatorum would feem therefore to have 
been printed between the years 15 12-16. 

xyi IntroduSiion. 

The title : — 

Hi&et ^agatotum; 
2:)er TBetler ©men : 

is printed in red. The title-page of this, as of moft 
of the early editions, is embelliftied with a woodcut, 
— a facfimile of which is given in this tranflation. 
The pidure, reprefenting a beggar and his family, 
explains itfelf. At the foot of the title is printed, 
in black: — Getrucht zu Augfpurg durch Erhart 
Oglin. The little book was frequently reprinted 
without any other variations than printers' blunders 
(one edition having an error in the firft word, 
Lieber Vagatorum) until 1528, when Luther edited 
an edition,* fupplying a preface, and correding 
fome of the paffages. In 1529 another edition, with 
Luther's preface, appeared at Wittemberg,f and 
from this, comparing it occafionally with the firft 

* Publifhed at Wittemberg. 

f The title-page of this edition is adorned with a facfimile of 
the woodcut which occurs in Oglin's edition, — the fame, in- 
deed, which is given in this tranflation. 

IntroduSiion. xvii 

edition by Ocellus, the prefent Englifli verfion has 
been made. Nearly all the editions contain the 
fame matter; nor do thofe iflued under Luther's 
authority furnifh us with additional information. 
With regard to the Vocabulary, however, I have 
made, in a few inftances, flight variations, as given 
in two editions of the Liber Fagatorumy preferved 
in the Library at Munich. Wherever there was a 
marked divergence in ftyle I have adopted that as 
my text which feemed to be the moft charaderiftic 
for the fifteenth and the commencement of the fix- 
teenth centuries, and which is moftly to be found in 
the better clafs MSS. and works of that period. 

I fliould ftate, however, before proceeding fur- 
ther, that a metrical verfion of the Liber Fagato- 
runty in 838 verfes, appeared about 15 17-18, writ- 
ten by Pamphilus Gengenbach, including a voca- 
bulary of the beggars' cant. Although Karl G6- 
decke, in his work, Ein Beitrag zur Deutfchen 
Literatur Gejchichte der Reformations zeit (Han- 
nover, Carl Riimpler, 1855), ^^^ ftated that 


xviii IntroduEiion. 

Gengenbach's poetical verfion preceded th^ fmaller 
profe account, it is impoffible, upon examining the 
two publications, to agree with him on this point. 
Gengenbach's book certainly did not appear till 
after 15 17, and the direft copies from the Liber 
Vagatorumy in matter and manner, are too frequent 
to admit for one moment of the fuppofition of their 
being accidental. The cant terms, too, are incor- 
redly given, and altogether the work bears the ap- 
pearance of hafty and piratical compilation. It 
never met with that popularity which the author 
anticipated, and probably never crofled the frontiers 
of Switzerland. 

The lateft profe edition of the Liber Vagatorum 
was iflued towards the clofe of the feventeenth cen- 
tury. The title ran: — Expertus in truffis. Of 
Falfe Beggars and their knaveries. A pretty little 
booky made more than a century and a half fince^ to- * 
gether with a Vocabulary offome old cant words that 
occur therein y newly edited. Anno 1668 (12°. pp. 

IntroduEiion. xix 

HAT Luther fhould have written a Pre- 
face to fo undignified a little work as The 
Book of Vagabonds feems remarkable. At 
this period (1528-9) he was in the midft of his la- 
bours, furrounded with difficulties and cares, and 
with every moment of his time fully occupied. The 
Proteft of Spires had juft been figned by the firft 
Proteftants. Melanfthon, in great affliftion at the 
turbulent ftate of aflTairs, was running from city to 
city ; and all Germany was alarmed to hear that the 
dreaded Turks were preparing to make battle before 
Vienna, Yet, the centre of all this agitation, engaged 
in direding and aflifting his followers, Luther found 
time to write feveral popular pieces, and kept, we are 
told, the book-hawkers of Augfburg and Spires bufy 
in fupplying them to the people. Thefe Chriftian 
pamphlets, D'Aubigne informs us, were eagerly 
fought for and pafled through numberlefe editions. 
It was not the peafants and townfpeople only who 
read them, but nobles and princes. Luther intended 

XX IntroduEiion. 

that they fhould be popular. He knew better than 
any man of his time how to captivate the reader and 
fix his attention. His little books were ftiort, eaiy 
to read, full of homely fayings and current phrafes, 
and ornamented with curious engravings. They 
were generally written, too, in Latin and German, 
to fuit both the educated and the unlettered. One 
was entitled. The Papacy with its Members painted 
and dejcribed by Dr. Luther. In it figured the 
Pope, the cardinal, and all the religious orders. 
Under the pidure of one of the orders were thefe 
lines : — 

** We can feft and pray the harder. 
With an overflowing larder." 

" Not one of thefe orders," faid Luther to the 
reader, "thinks either of faith or charity. This 
one wears the tonfure, the other a hood, this a cloak, 
that a robe. One is white, another black, a third 
gray, and a fourth blue. Here is one holding a 
looking-glafs, there one with a pair of fciflbrs. Each 

has his playthings Ah ! thefe are the 

palmer-worms, the locufts, the canker-worms, and 

IntroduSiion. xxi 

the caterpillars which, as Joel faith, have eaten up 
all the earth."* 

In this ftyle Luther addrefled his readers — 
fcourging the Pope, his cardinals, and all their emif- 
faries. But another clafe of " locufts" befides thefe 
appeared to him to require fweeping away, — thefe 
were the beggars and vagabonds who imitated the 
Mendicant Friars in wandering up and down the 
country, with lying tales of diftrefs, either of mind 
or body. As he fays in his Preface, explaining the 
reafon of his connedion with the book, " I thought it 
a good thing that fuch a work fhould not only be 
publiflied, but that it fhould become known every- 
where, in order that men can fee and underftand how 
mightily the devil rules in this world ; and I have alfo 
thought how fuch a book may help mankind to be 
wife, and on the look out for him, viz. the devil." 

Luther further adds — not forgetting, in pafling, 
to give a blow to Papacy — " Princes, lords, coun- 
fellors of ftate, and everybody fhould be prudent, 
and cautious in dealing with beggars, and learn that, 

• D*Aubignh Hiji. Ref. vol, iv. p. lo (1853). 

xxii IntroduEiion. 

whereas people will not give and help honeft pau- 
pers and needy neighbours, as ordained by God, 
they give, by the perfuafion of the devil, and con- 
trary to God's judgment, ten times as much to va- 
gabonds and defperate rogues, — in like manner as 
we have hitherto done to monafteries, cloifters, 
churches, chapels, and Mendicant Friars, forfaking 
all the time the truly poor." 

This was Luther's objedt in affixing his name to 
the little book. He faw that the Friars, Beggars, 
and Jews were eating up his country, and he thought 
that a graphic account of the various orders of 
vagrants, together with a lift of their fecret or cant 
words, iflued under the authority of his name, would 
put people on their guard, and help to fupprefs the 
wretched fyftem. 

Luther's ftatement as to his own experience with 
thefe rogues is very naive — " I have myfelf of late 
years," he remarks, " been cheated and flandered by 
fuch tramps and liars more than I care to confefs." 

Both priefts and beggars regarded him with a 
peculiar averfion, and many were the nicknames and 


• • • 


vulgar terms applied to him. The flang language 

of the day, therefore, was not unknown to Luther. 

At page 204 of Williams^ LeSlures on Ecclejiajiical 

Hijloryy 4to. (apparently privately printed for the 

ufe of the ftudents of St. Begh's College,) is the 
following foot-note : — 

Of the violence with which Luther's enemies attacked his 
charader^ and drove to render his name and memory odious to 
the people^ we have ah example in the following produdion of a 
French Jefuit, Andreas Frulius, printed at Cologne, 1582 : — 

Elogium Martini Lutheri, ex ipfius Nomine et Cognomine. 

Depinget et dignis te nemo coloribus unquam ; 

Nomen ego ut potero iic celebrabo tuum. 























Van us 








































xxi V IntroduSiion . 

Each column is an acroftic of the name Mar- 
TiNVS LuTHERVs, making 80 fcurrilous epithets. 

MUST now fay fomething about the little 
books on vagabonds which appeared in 
this country fifty years after the Liter Fa- 
gatorum had become popular in Germany. The firft 
and principal of thefe was edited by Thomas Har- 
man, a gentleman who lived in the days of Queen 
Elizabeth, and who appears to have fpent a confi- 
derable portion of his time in afcertaining the artifices 
and manoeuvres of rogues and beggars. From a clofe 
comparifon of his work with the Liber Vagatorum^ I 
have little hefitation in faying that he obtained the 
idea and general arrangement, together with a good 
deal of the matter, from the German work edited by 
Luther. The title of Harman's book is: — A 
Caueatfor Cvr/etors vulgarely Called VagaboneSy Jet 
forth for the vtilitie and profit of his naturellcountrey. 
This firft appeared in 1566. It was very popu- 
lar, and foon ran through four editions, the laft 

IntroduEiion . xxv 

being *^ augmented and enlarged by the firft author 
thereof, with the tale of the fecond taking of the 
counterfeit Crank, and the true report of his beha- 
viour and punifhment, moft marvellous to the hearer 
or reader thereof." 

The dates of the four editions are — 

William Gryffitb 
ib, ib. 

Henry Middleton 



The printer of the third edition is not known. 
The book is dedicated, fomewhat inconfiftently, 
confidering the nature of the fubjedb, to Elizabeth, 
Countefs of Shrewfbury. It gives, like the Liber 
Vagatorunty fhort but graphic defcriptions of the 
different kinds of beggars, and concludes with a cant 

The next work on this fubjedb which appeared 
in England was publifhed nine years later: — 

The Fraternity e of VacabondeSy with a Dejcrip- 
tion of the crafty Company of Coujoners and Shifters; 


xxvi IntroduSiion. 

whereunto aljo is adioyned the XXV Orders ofKnaueSj 
other wife called a Quartern of Knaues. Confirmed 
for ever by Cocke Lor ell. (^London by John Awdeley^ 

4to. 1575O* 

Some have conjeftured that it was an original 

compilation by Audley, the printer ; but this little 

book, perhaps more than Harman's, fhows traces of 

the German work. The " XXV Orders of Knaues *' 

is nearly the number defcribed in the Uber Vaga- 

torumj and the tricks, and defcription of beggars' 

drefles in both are very fimilar. There are the 

rogues with patched cloaks, who begged with their 

wives and "doxies;" thofe with forged licenfes 

and letters, who pretended to coiled for hofpitals ; 

thofe afflided with the falling ficknefs, a numerous 

number; fome without tongues, carrying letters, 

pretending they have been figned and fealed by the 

authorities of the towns from whence they came ; 

• Confining of nine leaves only. An edition appeared in 
1603, and a reprint of the firft edition was publilhed in Weft- 
minfterin 181 3 (8^°). 

IntroduEiion. xxvii 

others, " freftie-water mariners," with tales of a 
dreadful fhipwreck, and many more, all defcribed in 
fimilar words, whether in the pages of the Liber 
Vagatorum^ Harman, or Audley. It is reafonable 
to fuppofe, therefore, that the German account, 
being in the hands of the people abroad half a cen- 
tury before anything of the kind was iflued here, 
copies muft have found their way to England, and 
that from thefe the other two were in a great mea- 
fure derived. 

I might remark that other accounts of Englifh 
vagabonds were publifhed foon after this. The 
fubjeft had become popular, and a demand for 
books of the kind was the refult. Harrifon, who 
wrote the Defer iption of England^ prefixed to Hoi- 
infhed^s Chronicle (isyy)i defcribes the different 
orders of beggars. Greene, about 1592, wrote fe- 
veral works, bafed mainly on old Harman's book ; 
and Decker, twenty years later, provided a fimilar 
batch, giving an account of the vagabonds and loofe 
charaders of his dav. 

xxviii IntroduEiion. 

Shakefpeare, too, and other dramatifts of the 
period, introduced beggars and mendicants into 
their plays in company with the Gipfies, with 
whom, in a great meafure, in this country they 
were allied. 

|MONGST thofe paflages which refer to 
the cuilpms and tricks of beggars, in the 
Liber Vagatorum^ there are few which 
receive illuftration by a reference to the early laws 
and ftatutes of this country. 

The licenfes, or " letters with feals," fo frequently 
alluded to, and which were granted to deferving 
poor people by the civil authorities, are mentioned 
as cuftomary in this country in the A<5b for the 
ordering of Vagrants, pafled in the reign of Henry 
VIII. (1531). It appears that the parifti officers 
were compelled by this ftatute to make inquiry into 
the condition of the poor, and to afcertain who were 
really impotent and who were impoftors. To a 

IntroduBion. xxix 

perfon adually in want liberty was given to beg 
within a certain diftridb, " and further," fays the 
A<5b, " there fhall be delivered to every fuch perfon 
a letter containing the name of that perfon, witneff- 
ing that he is authorized to beg, and the limits 
within which he is appointed to beg, the fame letter 
to be fealed with the feal of the hundred, rape, 
wapentake, city, or borough, and fubfcribed with 
the name of one of the faid juftices or officers afore- 

I need fcarcely remark that a feal in thofe days, 
when but few public funftionaries could write, was 
looked upon as the badge of authority and genuine- 
nefs, and that as the art of writing became more 
general autograph fignatures fupplanted feals. An 
Englifh vagabond in the time of Elizabeth, when 
fpeaking of his paflport, called it his jarke, or 
jARKEMAN, viz. his fealed paper. His defcendant 
of the prefent century would term it his lines, 
viz. his written paper. The cant term jarke is 
almoft obfolete, but the powerful magic of a big 

XXX IntroduEiion. 

feal is ftill remembered and made ufe of by the 
tribe of cadgers. When a nymber of them at 
the prefent day wait upon a farmer with a fiditious 
paper, authorizing them to coiled fubfcriptions for 
the fufFerers in fome dreadful colliery accident, the 
document, covered with apparently genuine figna- 
tures, is generally garnifhed with a huge feal. 

In Germany it was the cuftom (alluded to at 
page 34) for the priefts or clerks to read thefe 
Hcenfes to beg from the pulpit, that the congrega- 
tion might know which of the poor people who 
waited at their doors were worthy of alms. Some- 
times, as in the cafe of the Dutzbetterin, or 
falfe '' lying-in-woman," an anecdote of whom is 
told here, the priefts were deceived by counterfeit 

At page 17 reference is made to the wandering 
ftudents who ufed to trudge over the country and 
fojourn for a time at any fchool charitable enough 
to take them in. Thefe, in their journeys, often fell 
in with rogues and tramps, and fometimes joined 

IntroduEiion. xxxi 

them in their vagabond calling, in which cafe they 
obtained for themfelves the title of Kammesierers, 
or "Learned Beggars." Now thefe feme vaga- 
bond fcholars were to be met with in this country 
in the time of Henry VIII, — ^and in Ireland, I be- 
lieve, fo late as the laft century. Examining again 
the Aft for Vagrants, 1531, we find that it was 
ufual and cuftomary for poor fcholars from Oxford 
and Cambridge to tramp from county to county. 
The ftatute provided them with a document, figned 
by the commiflary, chancellor, or vice-chancellor, 
which afted as their paflport. When found with- 
out this licenfe they were treated as vagrants, and 
whipped accordingly. 

|T is remarkable that many of the tricks 
and manoeuvres to obtain money from the 
unthinking but benevolent people of Lu- 
ther's time ftiould have been pradifed in this country 
at an early date, and that they ftiould ftill be found 

xxxii JntroduBion. 

amongft the arts to deceive thoughtlefs perfons 
adopted by rogues and tramps at the prefent day. 
The ftroller, or " Mafter of the Black Art," de- 
fcribed at page 19, is yet occafionally heard of in 
our rural diftrifts. The fimplc farmer believes him 
to be weather and cattle wife, and fliould his crops 
be backward, or his cow '* Spot," not " let down 
her milk," with her accuftomed readinefs, he crofles 
the fellow's hand with a piece of filver, in order that 
things may be righted. 

The WiLTNERS, or finders of pretended filver 
fingers, noticed at page 45, are now-a-days repre- 
fented by the *' Fawney Riggers," or droppers of 
counterfeit gold rings, — defcribed in May hew' s Lon- 
don Labour^ and other works treating of the ways of 

" Card-Sharpers," or Joners, mentioned at page 
47, are, unfortunately for the pockets of the fimple, 
ftill to be met with on public race-courfes and at 

The ovER-SoNZEN-GOERS, or pretended diftrefl!ed 

IntroduEiion^ xxxiii 

gentry, who went about *^ neatly drefled," with falfe 
letters, would feem to have been the original of our 
modern " Begging-Letter- Writers." 

Thofe half-famifhed looking impoftors, with clean 
aprons, or carefully brufhed threadbare coats, who 
ftand on the curbs of our public thoroughfares, and 
beg with a few flicks of fealing-wax in their hands, 
were known in Luther's time as Goose-shearers. 
As the reader will have experienced only too fre- 
quently, they have, when pretending to be mechanics 
out of employ, a particularly unpleafant pradice of 
following people, and detailing, in half-defpairing, 
half-threatening fentenccs, the ftate of their pockets 
and their appetites. It appears they did the fame 
thing more than three centuries ago. 

Another clafs, known amongft London flreet-folk 
as ^'Shivering- Jemmies," — fellows who expofe them- 
felves, half-naked, on a cold day, to excite pity and 
procure alms — were known in Luther's time as 
ScHWANFELDERS, — Only in thofe days, people being 
not quite fo modeft as now, they ftripped them- 

xxxiv IntroduSiion. 

felves entirely naked before commencing to fliivcr 
at the church-doors, 

Thofe wretches, who are occafionally brought 
before the police magiftrates, accufed of maiming 
children, on purpofe that they may the better ex- 
cite pity and obtain money, are, unfortunately, not 
peculiar to our civilized age. Thefe fellows com- 
mitted like cruelties centuries ago. 

Borrowers of children, too, — thofe pretended fa- 
thers of numerous and ftarving families of urchins, 
now often heard howling in the ftreets on a wet 
day, the children being arranged right and left ac- 
cording to height, — exifted in the olden time, — 
only then the loan was but for All Souls', or other 
Feaft Day, when the people were in a good humour. 

The trick of placing foap in the mouth to pro- 
duce froth, and falling down before paflers-by as 
though in a fit, common enough in London ftreets 
a few years ago, is alfo defcribed as one of the old 
manoeuvres of beggars.* 

♦ Seepage 21. 

IntroduEiion. xxxv 

Travelling quack- doftors, againft whom Luther 
cautions his readers, were common in this country 
up to the beginning of the prefent century.* And 
it is not long ago fince the credulous countrymen 
in our rural diftrifts, were cheated by fellows — 
'' wife-men" they preferred being termed — who 
pretended to divine dreams, and fay under which 
tree or wall the hidden treafure, fo plainly feen by 
Hodge in his fleep carefully depofited in a crock, 
was to be found. This pleafant idea of a pot full 
of gold, being buried near everybody, feems to 
have poflefled people in all ages. In Luther's time 
the nobility and clergy appear to have been fadly 
troubled with it, and it is very amufing to learn 
that fo iimple in this refpeft were the latter, that 
after they had given " gold and filver" to the cun- 
ning treafure-feeker, this worthy would infift upon 
their offering up mafles in order that the digging 
might be attended with fuccefs ! 

And laftly, the travelling tinkers, — who appear to 

• Page 47. 

xxxvi IntroduEiion. 

have had no better name for honefty in the fifteenth 
century than they have now, — " going about break- 
ing holes in people's kettles to give work to a multi- 
tude of others," fays the little book. 

|ITH regard to the Rothwelfch Sprache, or 
cant language ufed by thefe vagrants, it 
appears, like nearly all fimilar fyftems of 
fpeech, to be founded on allegory. Many of the 
terms, as in the cafe of the ancient cant of this coun- 
try, appear to be compound corruptions, — two or 
more words, in ordinary ufe, twifted and pronounced 
in fuch a way as to hide their original meaning. 
As Luther ftates, in his preface, the Hebrew ap- 
pears to be a principal element. Occafionally a term 
from a neighbouring country, or from a dead lan- 
guage may be obferved, but not frequently. As 
they occur in the original I have retained thofe cant 
words which are to be found here and there in the 
text. Perhaps it would have rendered a perufal lefs 

IntroduEiion. xxxvii 

tedious had they been placed as foot-notes ; but I 
preferred to adhere to the form in which Luther was 
content the little book fhould go forth to the world. 
The fimple form of thefe fecret terms has generally 
been given, there being no eftablifhe d rule for their 
infledion. In a few inflances I found myfelf un- 
able to give Englifh equivalents to the cant words 
in the Vocabulary, fo was compelled to leave them 
unexplained, but with the old German meanings 
(not eafy to be unravelled) attached. 

John Camden Hotten. 

Piccadilly ^ June, i860. 

Tm Stlier ^agatorum 






Printed at Wittemberg in thi year 



\HIS little book about the knaveries of beg- 
gars was firft printed by one who called 
him/elf Expertus in Truffis, that iSy a 
fellow right expert in roguery y — which 

the little work very well proves, even though he had 

not given himfelffuch a name. 

But I have thought it a good thing thatfuch a book 
fhould not only be printed, but that it fhould become 
known everywhere, in order that men may fee and un- 
derftand how mightily the devil rules in this world; 
and I have alfo thought how fuch a book may help 
mankind to be wife, and on the look out for him, viz. 
the devil. Truly, fuch Beggars* Cant has come from 
the Jews, for many Hebrew words occur in the Voca- 
bulary, as any one who underftands that language may 

4 Preface. 

But the right underftanding and true meaning of 
the book isy after all, this^ viz. that princes, lords, 
counfellors of fiat e, and everybody fhould be prudent, 
and cautious in dealing with beggars, and learn that, 
whereas people will not give and help honeft paupers 
and needy neighbours, as ordained by God, they give, 
by the perfuafion of the devil, and contrary to God's 
judgment, ten times as much to Vagabonds and defpe- 
rate rogues, — in like manner as we have hitherto done 
to monafteries, cloijiers, churches, chapels, and mendi- 
cant friars, forjaking all the time the truly poor. 

For this reafon every town and village fhould know 
their own paupers, as written down in the Regifter, 
and ajjift them. But as to outlandifh and ftrange 
beggars they ought not to be borne with, unlefs they 
have proper letters and certificates ; for all the great 
rogueries mentioned in this book are done by thefe. If 
each town would only keep an eye upon their paupers, 
fuch knaveries would foon be at an end. I have my- 
felf of late years been cheated and befooled by fuch 

Preface. 5 

tramp and liars more than I wifh to confefs. There- 
fore^ who/oever hear theje words let him be warned^ 
and do good to his neighbour in all Chriftian charity^ 
according to the teaching of the commandment. 

SO HELP US GOD ! ameii^ 

MJbtt ^agatorum ; 


Cbe aienDicanc XcotfietdooD. 

lERE follows a pretty little book, called 
Liier Vagatorum, written by a high 
and worthy matter, nomine Expertm in 
uffis, to the praife and glory of 
tbi in refrigerium et folacium, for all perfons' 
inllrudion and benefit, and for the correAion and 
converlion of thofe that pradife flich knaveries as 
are (hown hereafter ; which little book is divided 
into three parts. Part the firft ftiows the feveral 
methods by which mendicants and tramps get their 


8 The Book of Vagabonds 

livelihood ; and is fubdivided into XX chapters, et 
paulo plusy — for there are XX ways, et ultra^ 
whereby men are cheated and fooled. Part the 
fecond gives fome notahilia which refer to the 
means of livelihood afore mentioned. The third 
part prefents a Vocabulary of their language or 
gibberifti, commonly called Red Welfti, or Beggar- 

% Part the First of this little Book. 

©f ^z TBregers, or TBeffgars. 

|HE first chapter is about Bregers. Thefe 
are beggars who have neither the figns 
of the faints about them, nor other good 
qualities, but they come plainly and fimply to 
people and aik an alms for God's, or the Holy 
Virgin's fake : — perchance honeft paupers with 
young children, who are known in the town or 
village wherein they beg, and who would, I doubt 

and Beggars. 9 

not, leave ofF begging if they could only thrive by 
their handicraft or other honeft means, for there is 
many a godly man who begs unwillingly, and feels 
aftiamed before thofe who knew him formerly 
when he was better off, and before he was com- 
pelled to beg. Could he but proceed without he 
would foon leave begging behind him. 

Conclufto : To thefe beggars it is proper to give, 
for fuch alms are well laid out. 

©f ttt ^tabiilew, or TBrean (©atfjererg* 

|HE next chapter is about the Stabulers. 
Thefe are vagrants who tramp through 
the country from one Saint to another, 
their wives (kronerin) and children (gatzam) 
going (alchen) with them. Their hats (wetter- 
han) and cloaks (wintfang) hang full of figns 
of all the faints, — the cloak (wintfang) being made 
(vetzen) out of a hundred pieces. They go to 


1 o The Booh of Vagabonds 

the peafants who give them bread (lehem dip- 
pen) ; and each of thefe Stabulers has fix or 
feven facks, and carries a pot, plate, fpoon, flafk, 
and whatever elfe is needed for the journey with 
him. Thefe fame Stabulers never leave off 
begging, nor do their children, from their infancy 
to the day of their death — for the beggar's ftafF 
keeps the fingers (griffling) warm — and they 
neither will nor can work, and their children (gat- 
zam) grow up to be harlots and harlotmongers 
(gliden und glidesvetzer), hangmen and flayers 
(zwickmen und kaveller). Alfo, whitherfoever 
thefe Stabulers come, in town or country, they 
beg; at one houfe for God's fake, at another for 
St. Valentine's fake, at a third for St. Kiirine's, fie 
de aliisy according to the difpofition of the people 
from whom they feek alms. For they do not adhere 
to one patron or truft to one method alone. 

Conclufio : Thou mayefl: give to them if thou wilt, 
for they are half bad and half good, — not all bad, 
but moft part. 

and Beggars. \ i 

©f tfje iLo00nerg,* or liberated Ipnsonerg. 

|HE iij'^ chapter is about the Lossners. 
Thefe are knaves who fay they have lain 
in prifon vi or vij years, and carry the 
chains with them wherein they lay as captives 
among the infidel {id ejiy in the sonnenboss, 
/. e. brothel) for their chriftian faith ; iteniy on the 
fea in galleys or fhips enchained in iron fetters ; 
item^ in a ftrong tower for innocence' fake; and 
they have forged letters (loe bsaffot), as from 
the princes and lords of foreign lands, and from 
the towns (kielam) there, to bear witnefs to their 
truth, tho' all the time they are deceit and lies 

(gevopt und geverbt), for vagabonds may 

be found everywhere on the road who can make 

(vetzen) any feal they like and they fay they 

have vowed to Our Lady at Einfiedlin (in the 
dallinger's boss, /. e. harlot's houfe), or to fome 

* Literally *' prifoners let-loofe.^^ 

1 2 The Book of Vagabonds 

other Saint (in the schocherboss, i, e. beer-houfe), 
according to what country they are in, a pound of 
wax, a filver crucifix, or a chafuble ; and they fay 
they have been made free through that vow, and, 
when they had vowed, the chains opened and 
broke, and they departed fafe and without harm. 
Item^ fome carry iron faftenings, or coats of mail 
(panzer) with them, et fie de aliis. Nota: They 
have perchance bought (kummert) the chains ; 
perchance they had them made (vetzen) ; per- 
chance ftolen (gejenft) them from the church 
(diftel) of St. Lenhart. 

Conclufio : To fuch vagrants thou ftialt give 
nothing, for they do nought but deceive (voppen) 
and cheat (verben) thee; not one in a thoufand 
fpeaks the truth. 

and Be 


©f tfte Mtn%xiti%, ot Cripples* 

|HE iiij**^ is about the Klenkners. Thefe 
are the beggars who fit at the church- 
doors, and attend fairs and church gather- 
ings with fore and broken legs ; one has no foot, 
another no fhank, a third no hand or arm. Itenty 
fome have chains lying by them, faying they have 
lain in captivity for innocence' fake, and commonly 
they have a St. Sebaftianum or St. Lenhartum 
with them, and they pray and cry with a loud 
voice and noify lamentations for the fake of the 
Saints, and every third word one of them fpeaks 
(barl) is a lie (gevop), and the people who give 
alms to him are cheated (besefelt), — inafmuch 
as his thigh or his foot has rotted away in prifon 
or in the flocks for wicked deeds. Itemy one's 
hand has been chopped off in the quarrels over 
dice or for the fake of a harlot. Item^ many a one 
ties a leg up or befmearis an arm with falves, or 

1 4 The Book of Vagabonds 

walks on crutches, and all the while as little ails 
him as other men. Item^ at Utenheim there was a 
prieft by name Mafter Hans Ziegler (he holds 
now the benefice of Rofheim), and he had his niece 
with him. One upon crutches came before his 
houfe. His niece carried him a piece of bread. 
He faid, "Wilt thou give me nought elfe ? " She 
said, " I have nought elfe." He replied, " Thou 
old prieft's harlot! wilt thou make thy parfon 
rich ? " and fwore many oaths as big as he could 
utter them. She cried and came into the room and 
told the prieft. The prieft went out and ran after 
him. The beggar dropped his crutches and fled fo 
faft that the parfon could not catch him. A fhort 
time afterwards the parfon's houfe was burnt down ; 
he faid the Klenkner did it. Iteniy another true 
example : at Schletftat, one was fitting at the church- 
door. This man had cut the leg of a thief from 
the gallows. He put on the dead leg and tied his 
own leg up. He had a quarrel with another beg- 
gar. This latter one ran oflF and told the town- 

and Beggars. i 5 

ferjeant. When he faw the ferjeant coming he fled 
and left the fore leg behind him and ran out of the 
town — a horfe could hardly have overtaken him. 
Soon afterwards he hung on the gallows at Achem, 
and the dry leg befide him, and they called him 
Peter of Kreuzenach. Item^ they are the biggefl: 
bla^hemers thou canft find who do fuch things; 
and they have alfo the fineft harlots (gliden), they 
are the firfl:-comers at fairs and church-celebrations, 
and the lafl-goers therefrom. 

Conclufto : Give them a kick on their hind parts if 
thou canfl, for they are nought but cheats (besef- 
ler) of the peafants (hanzen) and all other men. 

Example : One was called Uz of Lindau. He 
was at Ulm, in the hofpital there, for xiiij days, 
and on St. Sebaflian's day he lay before a church, 
his hands and thighs tied up, neverthelefs he could 
ufe both legs and hands. This was betrayed to the 
confl:ables. When he faw them coming he fled 
from the town, — a horfe could hardly have ran 

1 6 The Book of Vagabonds 

©f DobilTctg,* ot Dopfetg, /. e. Cftutcft^ 


|HE v*^ chapter is about Dobissers. Thefe 
beggars (stirnenstosser, i.e. fpurious 
anointers) go hoftiatim from houfe to houfe, 
and touch the peafant and his wife (hanz und han- 
zin) with the Holy Virgin, or fome other Saint, fay- 
ing that it is the Holy Virgin from the chapel, — and 
they pafs themfelves off for friars from the fame 
place. Item^ that the chapel was poor and they 
beg linen-thread for an altar-cloth {id eft^ a gown 
[claffot] for a harlot [schrefen]). Item^ frag- 
ments of filver for a chalice {id efty to fpend it in 
drinking [verschochern] or gambling [verjo- 
nen]). item, towels for the priefts to dry their 
hands upon, {id eft, to fell [verkummern] them). 
Itenty there are alfo Dobissers, church-beggars, who 
have letters with feals, and beg alms to repair a 

• DebifTern. 

and Beggars. 1 7 

ruined chapel (diftel), or to build a new church. 
Verily, fuch friars do make collections for an edifi" 
cium — viz. one which lies not far below the nofe, and 
is called St. Drunkard's chapel. 

Conclufio: As to thefe Dobissers, give them 
nought, for they cheat and defraud thee. If from 
a church that lies ij or iij miles from thee people 
come and beg, give them as much as thou wilt or 

©f ffi^ammefietew, ot Leatnen TBeggaw- 

[HE vj*^ chapter is about the Kammesierers. 
Thefe beggars are young fcholars or young 
ftudents, who do not obey their fathers 
and mothers, and do not liften to their matters' teach- 
ing, and fo depart, and fall into the bad company 
of fuch as are learned in the arts of ftrolling and 
tramping, and who quickly help them to lofe all 
they have by gambling (verjonen), pawning (ver- 

1 8 The Book of Vagabonds 

senken), or felling (verkummern) it, with drink- 
ing (verschochern) and revelry. And when they 
have nought more left, they learn begging, and kam- 
MESiERiNG, and to cheat the farmers (hanzen-besef- 
len); and they kamesier as follows: //^w, that they 
come from Rome {id eji^ from the brothel [sonnen- 
boss]), ftudying to become priefts (on the gallows, 
i. e. dolman) ; itemy one is acolituSy another is epifto- 
lariuSy the third evangelicuSy and a fourth clericus 
(galch) ; itemy they have nought on earth but the 
alms wherewith people help them, and all their 
friends and family have long been called away by 
death's fong. //<?;», they afk linen cloth for an alb 
{id efty for a harlot's fhift, /. e. gliden hanfstau- 
den). Itemy money, that they may be confecrated at 
next Corpus Chrifti day {id eft y in a sonnenboss, i.e. 
brothel), and whatever they get by cheating and 
begging they lofe in gambling (verjonen), or with 
ftrumpets, or fpend it in drink (verschocherns 
und VERBOLENs). Itemy they fhave tonfures on their 
heads, although they are not ordained and have no 

and Beggars. 1 9 

church document (format), though they fay they 
have, and they are altogether a bad lot (loe vot). 

Conclujio : As to thefe Kammesierers give them 
nought, for the lefs thou giveft them the better it 
is for them, and the fooner they muft leave off. 
They have alfo forged FORMATiE (Jit era). 

©f (Kagtantt (Oaffietetn), ot %)ttollet0* 

HE vij* chapter is about Vagrants. Thefe 
are beggars or adventurers who wear yellow 
garments, come from Venufberg, know the 
black art, and are called rambling fcholars. Thefe 
fame when they come into a houfe fpeak thus : — 
" Here comes a rambling fcholar, a magifter of 
the feven free arts (Jd eji^ the various ways of cheat- 
ing [beseflen] the farmers [hanzen]), an exorcifer 
of the devil for hail, for ftorm, and for witchcraft." 
Then he utters fome magical words and crofles his 
breaft ii or iij times, and fpeaks thus : — 

20 The Book of Vagabonds 

** Wherever thefe words are faid. 
No man ihall fuddenly fall dead« 
No murrain, mildew or other miferie 
Shall touch this ground to all eternitie ; " 

and many more precious words. Then the farmers 
(hanzen) think it all true, and are glad that he is 
come, and are forry they have never feen a wandering 
fcholar before, and fpeak to the vagrant : — '^ This 
or that has happened to me, can you help me ? I 
would willingly give you a florin or ij" — and he 
fays " Yes," and cheats the farmers (besefeltden 
den HANZEN ums mess) out of their money. And 
after thefe experiments they depart. The farmers 
fuppofe that by their talking they can drive the 
devil away, and can help them from any trouble that 
has befallen them. Thou canfl: afk them nothing 
but they will perform thee an experiment therewith ; 
that is, they can cheat and defraud thee of thy money. 
Conclufio : Beware of thefe Vagrants y for where- 
with they praftife is all lies. 

and Beggars. 2 1 

€)f t^e (£^rantner0, or i&naties tnit^ t^e 

falling %)ic{tnef0. 

|HE viij^ chapter is about the Grantners. 
Thefe are the beggars who fay in the 
farm-houfes (hansen-boss) : — '^ Oh, dear 
friend, look at me, I am afflifted with the falling 
ficknefs of St. Valentine, or St. Kurinus, or St. Vi- 
tus, or St. Antonius, and have offered myfelf to the 
Holy Saint {utjufrd) with vj pounds of wax, with an 
altar cloth, with a filver falver {etceterd)^ and muft 
bring thefe together from pious people's offerings and 
help ; therefore I beg you to contribute a heller, a 
fpindleful of flax, a ribbon, or fome linen yarn for 
the altar, that God and the Holy Saint may protefl: 
you from mifery and difeafe and the falling ficknefs." 
Nota : A falfe (loe) trick. 

Ifem, fome fall down before the churches, or in 
other places with a piece of foap in their mouths, 
whereby the foam rifes as big as a fifl, and they prick 

22 n^e Book of Vagabonds 

their noftrils with a ftraw, caufing them to bleed, as 
though they had the falling-ficknefs. Nota: this 
is utter knavery. Thefe are villanous vagrants that 
infeft all countries. Item^ there are many who fpeak 
(barlen) thus : — " Liften to me, dear friends, I am 
a butcher's fon, a tradefinan. And it happened fome 
time fince that a vagrant came to my father's houfe 
and begged for St. Valentine's fake ; and my father 
gave me a penny to give to him. I faid, ' father, it is 
knavery.' My father told me to give it to him, but 
I gave it him not. And fince that hour I have been 
afflifted with the falling-ficknefs, and I have made 
a vow to St. Valentine of iij pounds of wax and a 
High Mafs, and I beg and pray pious folks to help 
me, becaufe I have made this vow; otherwife I 
fliould have fubftance enough for myfelf. Therefore 
I afk of you an offering and help that the dear holy 
St. Valentine may guard and proted you evermore." 
Nota : what he fays is all lies. Ifenty he has been 
more than xx years coUefting for his iij pounds of 
wax and the mafs, and has been gambling (ver- 

and Beggars. 23 

jonen), bibbling (verschochern), and rioting 
(verbolen) with it. And there are many that ufe 
other and more fubtle words than thofe given in this 
book. Item^ fome have a written teftimony (bsaf- 
fot) that it is all true. 

Conclujio: If any of the Grantners cometh 
before thine houfe, and fimply beggeth for God's 
fake, and fpeaketh not many, nor flowery words, to 
them thou flialt give, for there are many men who 
have been afflided with the ficknefs by the Saints ; 
but as to thofe Grantners who ufe many words, 
fpeak of great wonders, tell you that they have 
made vows, and can altogether fkilfully ufe their 
tongues — ^thefe are figns that they have followed this 
bufinefs for a long time, and, I doubt not, they are 
falfe and not to be trufled. As to him who believes 
them, they take a nut off his tree. Take care 
of fuch, and give them nothing. 

24 The Book of Vagabonds 

|HE ix^ chapter is about the Dutzers. 
Thefe are beggars who have been ill for a 
long time, as they fay, and have promifed 
a difficult pilgrimage to this or that Saint {ut Jupra 
in precedenti capitulo) for three whole and entire 
alms every day, that they, thereby, muft go each 
day from door to door until they find three pious 
men who will give them three entire alms. Thus 
fpeaketh a pious man unto them : " What is an en- 
tire alms ?" Whereat the Dutzer replieth: " A 
'plaphart' {hlaffard)^ whereof I muft have three 
every day, and take no lefs, for without that the 
pilgrimage is no good." Some go for iij pennies, 
fome for one penny, et in toto nihil. And the alms 
they " muft have from a good and correft man." 
Such is the vanity of women, rather than be called 
impious they give a double " blafFard," and fend 
the Dutzer one to another, who ufes many other 

and Beggars. 25 

words which I cannot make bold to repeat. Item^ 
they would take a hundred '^ blafFards" and more a 
day if they were given them, and what they fay 
is all lies (gevopt). Iteniy this alfo is dutzing, viz. 
when a beggar comes to thine houfe and fpeaks; 
*' Good woman, might I afk you for a fpoonful of 
butter ; I have many young children, and I want the 
wherewith to cook foup for them?" Item^ for an 
egg (betzam) : '^ I have a child bedridden now thefe 
feven days." Item^ for a mouthful of wine, " for I 
have a fick wife," et fie de aliis. This is called 


Conclufio: Give nought whatfbever to thofe 
DuTZERS who fay that they have taken a vow not 
to gather more per diem than iij or iiij entire alms, 
ut fupra. They are half good (hunt), and half 
bad (lotsch); but the greater part bad. 

26 The Book of Vagabonds 

|HE x*^ chapter is about the Schleppers. 
Thefe are Kammesierers who pretend to 
be priefts. They come to the houfes with 
a famulus or difcipulus who carries a fack after 
them, and {peak thus : — " Here comes a confecrated 
man, named Matter George Kefller, of Kitzebiihel 
(or what elfe he likes to call himfelf) and I am of 
fuch-and-fuch a village, or of fuch-and-fuch a family 
(naming a family which they know), and I will 
officiate at my firft mafs on fuch-and-fuch a day in 
that village, and I was confecrated for the altar in 
fuch-and-fuch a town at fuch-and-fuch a church, 
and there is no altar cloth, nor is there a miifal, et 
ceteruy and I cannot affiDrd them without much help 
from all men ; for mark, whofoever is commended 
for an offering in the angel's requiem, or for as 
many pennies as he gives, fo many fouls will be re- 
leafed amongft his deceafed kindred." Item, they 

and Beggars. 27 

receive alfo the farmer (hanz) and his wife 
(hanzin) into a brotherhood, which they fay had 
beftowed on it grace and a great indulgence from 
the bifliop who is to erefl: the altar. Thus men 
are moved to pity ; one gives linen yarn, another 
flax or hemp; one table cloths, or towels, or old 
filver plate ; and the Schleppers fay that they are 
not a brotherhood like the others who have quef- 
tionerer^ and who come every year, but that they 
will come no more (for if they came again they 
would certainly be drowned [geflosselt]). Itemy 
this manner is greatly praftifed in the Black 


Forefl:, and in the country of Bregenz, in Kurwa- 
len, and in the Bar, and in the Algen, and on the 
Adige, and in Switzerland, where there are not many 
priefts, and where the churches are far diftant from 
each other, — as are alfo the farms. 

Conclujio: To thefe Schleppers, or Knaves, 
give nothing, for it would be badly laid out. 

Exemplum . One was called Manfuetus ; he alfo 
invited the farmers to his firfl: mafe at St. Gallen ; 

28 The Book of Vagabonds 

and when they came to St. Gallen they fought for 
him in the cathedral, but found him not. After 
their meal they difcovered him in a brothel (son- 
NENBoss), but he efcaped. 

©f tfie (©fcltiire0, or 15Unli IBeffffariK* 

|HE xi* chapter is of theGiCKissES,orBlind 
Beggars. Mark: there are three kinds of 
blind men who wander about. Some are 
called BLOCHARTS, id ejiy blind men — made blind by 
the power of God, — they go on a pilgrimage, and 
when they come into a town they hide their round 
hats, and fay to the people they have been ftolen 
from them, or loft at the places where they had 
fheltered themfelves, and one of them often coUefts 
ten or xx caps, and then fells them. Some are 
called blind who have loft their fight by evil-doings 
and wickednefl!es. They wander about in the coun- 
try and carry with them piftures of devils, and re- 

and Beggars. 29 

pair to the churches, and pretend they had been at 
Rome, to Saint James, and other diftant places, and 
^eak of great figns and wonders that had taken 
place, but it is all lies and deception. Some of the 
blind men are called broken wanderers (Bruch 
Umbgeen). Thefe are fuch as have been blinded 
ten years or more ; they take cotton, and make the 
cotton bloody, and then with a kerchief tie this 
over their eyes, and fay that they have been mer- 
cers or pedlers, and were blinded by wicked men 
in a foreft, that they were tied faft to a tree and fo 
remained three or four days, and, but for a merciful 
pafler-by, they would have miferably perifhed ; — 
and this is called broken wandering. 

Conclujio : Know them well before thou giveft to 
them ; my advice is only give to thofe thou knoweft. 

30 The Book of Vagabonds 

%i tf)e ^cl)toanfeltier0, lBUcitfcf)Iaf)er0, or 

JSafecu TBcffffar0. 

I HE xij* chapter is about the Schwanfel- 
DERS, or Blickschlahers. Thefe are 
beggars who, when they come to a town, 
leave their clothes at the hoftelry, and fit down 
againft the churches naked, and fhiver terribly before 
the people that they may think they are fufFering 
from great cold. They prick themfelves with nettle- 
feed and other things, whereby they are made to 
fliake. Some fay they have been robbed by wicked 
men ; fome that they have lain ill and for this rea- 
fon were compelled to fell their clothes. Some fay 
they have been ftolen from them ; but all this is 
only that people fhould give them more clothes, 
when they fell (verkummern) them, and fpend the 
money with lewd women (verbolens) and gambling 

and Beggars. 3 1 

Conclufio : Beware of thefe Schwanfelders for 
it is all knavery, and give them nothing, whether they 
be men or women, (unlefs) thou knoweft them well. 

flDf ttie (Kopper0, or DemontaciS!. 

|HE xiij*^ chapter is about the Voppers, 
Thefe beggars are for the moft part wo- 
men, who allow themfelves to be led in 
chains as if they were raving mad ; they tear their 
fhifts from their bodies, in order that they may de- 
ceive people. There are alfo fome that do both, 
voppERY and dutzing, together. This is vopping, 
viz. when one begs for his wife's or any other per- 
fon's fake and fays ftie has been poflefled of a devil 
(tho' there is no truth in it), and he ]has vowed to 
fome Saint (whom he names), and muft have xij 
pounds of wax or other things whereby the perfon 
will be delivered from the power of the devil. Thefe 
are called Dutzing- Voppers. 

32 "The Book of Vagabonds 

Conclujio : This is a wicked and falfe way of beg- 
ging. They fmg,— 

A beggar's (bregar) weiich (erlatin) will cheat. 
And lie (voppen) and be fiill of deceit (perben) : 
And he kicks and beats her with his ihoe. 

There are alfo fome Vopperinae, id ejly women, 
who pretend that they have difeafes of the breaft. 
They take a cow's fpleen, and peel it on one fide, 
and then lay it upon their bofom — the peeled part 
outfide — befmearing it with blood, in order that 
people may think it is the breaft. Thefe are the 


i3Df tf)e Danm0er0, or hangmen. 

|HE xiiij**" chapter is about the Dallingers. 
Thefe are they who ftand before the 
churches, having been hangmen (although 
they have left it off i year or ii fince), and chaftife 
and whip themfelves with rods, and will do pe- 

and Beggars. 33 

nance and pilgrimage for their fin and wickedneffes. 
Thefe often beg with much fuccefs. When they 
have pradlifed for a while and cheated many people 
thereby, they become hangmen again, as before. 
Give to them if thou wilt ; but they are all knaves 
who beg thus. 

©f tf>cDut?ficttcrm0, or JLpinffan d^omen- 

|HE xv**^ chapter is about the Dutzbette- 
RiNS. Thefe are the beggarwomen who 
lay themfelves before the churches all over 
the country. They fpread a fheet over themfelves, 
and fet wax and eggs by them, as tho* they were in 
childbed, and fay, their babe died xiiij days ago, 
altho* fome of them have not had one thefe x or xx 
years; and they are called Dutzbetterins. To 
thefe nothing is to be given, — cauja: There lay once, 
at Strafburg, a man underneath a fheet before the 
cathedral, and it was pretended he was a woman in 
childbed. But he was taken by the town ferjeants, 


34 ^^ Book of Vagabonds 

and put into a halfong, and in the pillory, and then 
he was forbidden the country. There are likewife 
fome women who pretend they have been pregnant 
with a monfter and have brought forth fuch, as did 
a woman who came to Pforzheim in the year one 
thoufand five hundred and nine. This fame wo- 
man faid that a ftiort time before ftie had given 
birth to a child and a live toad ; and that this very 
toad ftie had carried to Our Lady at Einfiedeln, 
where it was ftill alive, and that it muft have a 
pound of meat every day, — being kept at Einfiedeln 
as a miracle. Thus flie begs alms as if flie were on 
her way to Ach, to Our Lady. She had alfo a letter 
with a feal, which was proclaimed from the pulpit. 
The fame woman, however, had a lufty young man 
whom flie kept in food by fuch villany, fitting in 
an alehoufe in the fuburb waiting for her. All this 
was found out by the gate-keeper ; and they would 
have been feized, but they had been warned and fo 
took themfelves off. Nota: All this was utter 

and Beggars. 35 

£Df tlie $untt)eger0, or (pretentieD) 


HE xvi* chapter is about the Suntvegers. 
Thefe are ftrong fellows who go about the 
country with long knives and fay they have 
taken a man's life away, but that it was in felf-de- 
'fence, and then they name a fum of money which 
they muft have, and unlefs they bring the money 
at the right time, they will have their heads cut off. 
Itemy fome are accompanied by a fellow on their 
begging-rounds who goes in iron chains and fetters 
fattened with rings, and who fays he was bail for the 
other for a fum of money to the people, and if he 
gets not the money in time, both of them muft 

36 Tide Book of Vagabonds 

S)f t^e female ^unmegetiB!. 

I HE xvij**" chapter is about the female-Sunt- 
VEGERS. Thefe are the wives (kronerin), 
or, in reality, the wenches (gliden) of the 
above fellows {fupra in precedenti capitulo). They 
wander over the country, and fay that formerly they 
led a loofe life, but that now they repent and would 
turn from their wickednefs, and beg alms for the 
fake of Sanda Maria Magdalena, and cheat the 
people therewith. 

jJDf tfje TBiMnearers,* or (prctenDcD) 
pregnant Ci^omem 

|HExviij***chapteris about theBiL-WEARERS. 
Thefe are the women who tie old jerkins j 
or clothes, qr a pillow over their perfon, 
underneath the gown, in order that people may think 

♦ In the original Biltregerin {Bildtragerin), i,e. Billet- wearers. 

and Beggars. 3 7 

they are with child ; and they have not had one for 
XX years or more. This is called going with Bils.* 

©f tfje Slirffins (3fungfrauen), or pmenDeD 


jHE xix* chapter is about the Virgins. 
Thefe are beggars who carry rattles as 
though they were real lepers, and yet they 
are not. This is called going with the Virgin. 

©f tfte fls^iimfen, or Spurious TBeggars. 

|HE XX* chapter treats of the Mumsen. 
Thefe are beggars who go about under the 
pretence of begging ; though it is not real, 
like that of the Capuchin Friars who are voluntarily 
poor. Thefe fame men have their women fitting in 
out-of-the-way corners alfo following the bufinefs. 
This is called going with the Mumsen. 

* Beulen, bumps, or protuberances ? 

38 TTie Book of Vagabonds 

©f tlje ©ttcr*®on5em®oer0,* or prctcnUeD 
iBodlemen anti ^xi\^x%. 

|HE xxi* chapter is about Over-Sonzen- 
GOERs. Thefe are vagrants or beggars 
who fay they are of noble birth, and that 
they have fufFered by war, fire, or captivity, or have 
been driven away and loft all they had. Thefe 
clothe themfelves prettily and with neatnefe, as though 
they were noble, though it is not fo; they have 
falfe letters (loe bsaffot) ; and this they call going 


£Df tt)e i&antiierer0, or pretentieti ^tiizt%. 

|HE xxij°^ chapter is about the Kandierers. 
Thefe are beggars tidily dreffed; they make 
people believe they had once been mer- 
chants over the fea, and have with them a loe 

* Ubern Sonzen ganger. 

and Beggars. 39 

BSAFFOT, from the bifhop (as common people think), 
but the trick has been well related in capitulo tertioy 
together with an account of the lossners (liberated 
prifoners), — how they obtain their falfe letters and 
feals, faying they have been robbed ; but it is all 
lies. This is called going over clant. 

£Df tf)e (Ketanertns, or bapti^ti 3letoeire0. 

|HE xxiij"^ chapter is about the Veranerins. 
Thefe are women who fay they are bap- 
tized Jeweffes and have turned Chriftians, 
and can tell people whether their fathers or mothers 
are in hell or not, and beg gowns and dreffes and 
other things, and have alfo falfe letters and feals. 
They are called Veranerins. 

40 "The Book of Vagabonds 

©f Cfjnflianers, Calmierers, or (pretcnDeD) 


|HE xxiiij^'* chapter is about Christianers 
or Calmierers. Thefe are beggars who 
wear figns in their hats, efpecially Roman 
veronicas, fhells, and other tokens, which they fell to 
each other, in order that it ftiall be thought they 
have been in diftant cities and foreign parts. For 
this reafon they wear thefe figns, although they have 
never come thence, and they deceive people thereby . 
They are called Calmierers. 

©f tfie ®effer0, or Saltiers* 

|HE xxv*^ chapter is about the Seffers. 
Thefe are beggars who befmear themfelves 
all over with falve, and lie down before the 
churches; thus looking as though they had been 
ill a long time, and as if their mouth and face had 

and Beggars. 41 

broken out in fores ; but if they go to a bath three 
days after thefe go away again. 

i3Df tf)e ^clitoeigers, or tfie 3launDiceD. 

|HE xxvj*** chapter is about the Schweigers. 
Thefe are beggars who take horfes' dung 
and mix it with water, and befmear their 
legs, hands, and arms with it ; thereby appearing 
as if they had the yellow ficknefs, or other dreadful 
difeafe. Yet it is not true ; they cheat people there- 
with, and they are called Schweigers. 

©f tf)e TButfefjatt. 

|HE xxvij* chapter is about the Burkhart. 
Thefe are they who thruft their hands into 
gauntlets, and tie them with kerchiefs to their 
throats, and fay they have Saint Anthony's penance, 
or that of any other Saint. Yet it is not true, and 


42 The Book of Vagabonds 

they cheat people therewith. This is called going 


©f tfje ipiatfcfjierers, or 15UnD harpers* 

jHE xxviij*** chapter is about the Plat- 
scHiERERS. Thefe are the blind men who 
fit before the churches on chairs, and play 
on the lute, and fing various fongs of foreign lands 
whither they have never been, and when they have 
done finging they begin to vop (to lie) and ferb in 
what manner they had loft their eye-fight.. Item^ the 
hangmen (Platschierers) alfo before the diftel 
door (church-door) will take their clothes ofF till 
they are ftark-naked, and lafli themfelves with whips 
and fticks for the fake of their fins, and they do this 
voppery to cheat mankind, as thou haft juft heard 
in the previous chapter ; and this is called plat- 
scHiERiNG. Alfo thofe who ftand on ftools, and lafh 
themfelves with ftones and other things, and talk 
about the faints, ufually become hangmen and flayers. 

and Beggars. ^ 43 

^ The Second Part. 

This is the Second Tart of this Book^ which Jpeaketh 
of fever al Notabilia that relate to the afore-men- 
tioned cuftoms and methods of getting a livings given 
in a few words. 

TEMy there are fome of the afore-men- 
tioned who neither afk before a houfe nor 
at the door, but ftep right into the houfe, 
or into the chamber, whether any body be within 
or no. It is from no good reafon. Thefe thou 
knoweft thyfelf 

Item^ there are alfo fome that go up and down the 
aifles of churches, and carry a cup in their hands. 
They wear clothes fuitable for this purpofe, and pafs 
about very infirm as tho' they were ftrangely ill, and 
go from one to the other, and bow towards thofe 
people who are likely to give them fomething. 
They are called Pflugers. 

Itemy there are alfo fome who borrow children 
upon All Souls' or other Feaft Day, and fit down 

44 7/^ Book of Vagabonds 

before the churches as tho' they had many children, 
and they fay " thefe children are motherlefs" or 
" fatherlefs," but it is not true. This is done in 
order that people may give to them the more will- 
ingly for the fake of Adone (God). 

Exemplutn: In a village in Switzerland, there 
is a ftatute whereby they give to every beggar v s. 
hellers on condition that he fhall for a quarter of a 
year at leaft not beg in the fame neighbourhood. 
Once a woman took thefe fame v s. hellers on con- 
dition that fhe would not beg any more in the 
neighbourhood. After that fhe cut her hair off, 
and begged up and down the country, and came 
again to Swy tz, into the village, and fat down at the 
church gate with a young child. When the child 
was uncovered it was found to be a dog. Then fhe 
had to run away from the country. This perfon 
was called Weijfenburgerin ; fhe had been in prifon 
at Zurich combing wool. 

lum, there are fome who put on good clothes 
and beg in the flreets. They accofl any perfon, be 

and Beggars. 45 

it woman or man, and fay, they have lain ill a long 
time, and are mechanics who have expended all their 
goods and are aihamed to beg, and afk that thou 
mayeft help them to proceed on their journey. Thefe 
are called Goose-shearers.* 

Item^ there are likewife fome among thofe before- 
mentioned who pretend they can dig or fearch for 
hidden treafures, and when they find fome one who 
allows himfelf to be perfuaded, they fay they muft 
have gold and filver, and muft have many mafTes 
celebrated to this fame end, et ceteruy with many 
more words added. Thereby they deceive the no- 
bility, the clergy, and alfo the laity, for it has not 
yet been heard that fuch villains have found thefe 
valuables. But they have cheated people enough. 
They are called SEFEL-(dirt-)DiGGERS. 

Itemy there are alfo fome among the above who 
treat their children badly in order that they may be- 
come lame (and who would be forry if they fhould 
grow ftraight-legged) for thereby they are more 

* Gensscherer^ /'. e, ganfTcherer. 

46 The Book of Vagabonds 

able to cheat /people with their loe vots (lying 

Item^ there are alfo others among the above who, 
when they come into the villages, have a little coun- 
terfeit finger and dirt* upon it, fmearing it all over, 
and fay they have found it, and alk if fomebody 
will buy it. Thus a filly peafant's wife (hanzin) 
thinks it is filver, and knows it not, and gives them 
vi pennies or more for it, and therewith flie is cheated. 
In like manner ^m^ pater nofters^or other figns which 
they carry underneath their cloaks. They are called 


Item^ there are alfo fome Questionerers (per- 
fons who aflc alms) who make evil ufe of the holy 
goods which they receive, be it flax, linen-cloth, 
broken filver plate, or other things ; they are eafily 
detefted by thofe who are knowing, but the common 
man will foon be cheated. I give to no Questioner 
anything, excepting the four mefl^engers, id efty 

thofe that are here written down, viz. San£fi Anto- 

* In the original kot, i. e. kat. 

and Beggars. a^j 

niiy SanSli Valentini^ San£li Bernardiy et Spiritus 
San£li. The fame have been confirmed by the See 
of Rome.* 

Item^ beware of the pedlers who feek thee at 
home, for thou wilt buy nothing good of them, be it 
filver, haberdafhery, fpicery, or any other wares. 

Beware, likewife, of the doftors who travel up 
and down the country, and offer theriack and roots, 
and make much ado about themfelves, and efpecially 
fome blind doftors. One called Hans of Strafburg, 
has been a Jew, and was chriftened at Strafburg at 
Whitfuntide ; years ago his eyes were bored out at 
Worms, but he is now a phyfician, and tells for- 
tunes, and travels from place to place, and cheats and 
defrauds every body. How ? I need not fay, I 
could tell well enough. 

Iteniy beware of the Joners (gamblers) who prac- 
tice BESEFLERY with the BRIEF (cheating at cards), 
who deal falfely and cut one for the other, cheat with 
BOGLEiN and SPIES, pick one brief (card) from the 

* On this pafTage Luther remarks : — ** But now it is all over 
with thefe too!" 




EDONE, God. Hebrew, adhonaiy, the 
i Lord, I. e. God. 

ACHELN, to eat. Hebrew, akAl. 
ALCHEN! to go. 
ALCH DICHf go ! or, go quickly ! 

remove to a diftance ! 
ALCH DICH UBERN GLENZ! go for away! re- 
move to a diftance ! 
BARLEN, to fpeak. French, parler. 
BESCHOCHER, tipfy. German, besoffen, drunken, 

BETZAM, an egg. Hebrew, beytzah. 
BLECH, a blaffart, — an obfolete coin containing 4.8 
hellers. German, blech, a thin piece of metal. 

so The Vocabulary. 

BLECHLEIN^ a kreiizer, — a fmaller coin than the pre- 
ceding, containing 8 hellers. German^ blechlein, 
the diminutive of blech. 

BOLENy HELSEN, — probably the Germany halsen, to 
embrace any one, to jump at one's neck (hals); alio 
to veer. 

BOPPENy to lie ; be placed or fituated. 

BOSSy or BETT, a houfe. This term would feem to be 
from the HebreWy beth, a houfe. Bo, or bos, is a 
common prefix in the old Cornijhy and (ignifies a 
houfe, as boscawen, bospidnick. 

BOSS DICH! hold thy tongue ! 

BOSSHARTy meat. The Hebrew y bAsar, fignifies flefh. 

BOSSHAR y. VETLERy a butcher. Hebrew. 

BREGENy to beg. Both this and the following are pro- 
bably corruptions of the Germany predigen, to 
pray, to preach ; or they may have come from the 
Old Germany bracher, a pauper. Poffibly, how- 
ever, they are nothing more than corruptions of 
BEGHARD^ the name given to a low order of friars 
before the Reformation. Thefe profefTed poverty, 
and lived on alms. Their orthodoxy and morality 
were doubtful. In general they were denounced by 
the eccleiiaftical authorities. See Mofheim, de beg- 
HARDis et Beguinis. The term evidently comes from 

The Vocabulary. 51 

the Saxon J beggen, mendicare ; and hard, or hart, 
a fervant. 

BREGER, a beggan 

BREITHJRTy far, wide, — breit here being equivalent 
to broad, or wide ; and hart, to very, or exceedingly. 

BREITFUSSy 2L goofe, or duck,— literally, a "broad- 

BRESEMy BRUCH, to break. The OJd German^ bruch, 
fignifies yr^^«r^, ruptura ; femoralia ; locus palu/iris; 
infra£iio legis. The Modern German^ bruch, refers 
to a breach or rupture in a perfon, efpecially a break- 
age caufed by violence. 

BRIEFy a playing card. German^ brief, a letter. 

BRIEFELVETZERy a clerk. Vide fetzen. 

BRIEFENy to play at cards. 

BRISSENy to denounce. 

BRUSSy a leper. 

BSJFFOTj a letter, a cipher. The Germany ziffer, 
figniiies a cipher, and probably comes from the 
Arabic or HebreWy — s£pher in the latter being 
equivalent to writing, a writing, or whatever is written 
in a book. 

BSCHIDERICHy a magiftrate. Probably this term, to- 
gether with the following, were merely vulgar adapta- 
tions of the Germany bescheiden, to appoint, to be 

52 The Vocabulary. 

difcreet. The Old German^ bsscheid-rik, might 
be tranflated as '* powerful in decifion," and be- 
SCHEIDRUOM, *' rcnowned for difcretion or modefty.'* 

BSCHUDERULM, nobility. 

BUTLELMJN^ zagel. The German^ zagel, is a 
provincial word, and figniiies a tail. See Scheiss. 

DALLINGERj a hangman. Probably a corruption of 
GALGENER, — from the German^ galgen, a gallows, 
or gibbet. 

DERLING^ 2L die (plural dice). 

DIERLINGf the eye. Poffibly a diminutive of the 
German^ thur, a door, or entrance, — not inappropri- 
ately applied to the eye, as the little door out of which 
all things are feen. 

DIERNy to fee. 

DIFTELj a church. Probably a corruption of the Ger^ 
mafij STIFTEL, — a diminutive of stift, a cathedral. 
Stiftung is a foundation, eftablifhment ; stifter, a 

DIPPENy to give. German^ geben. 

DOLMJNy the gallows. The German, dolman, pro- 
perly fignifies a pelifle, — the tight-fitting nature of 
which may have given rife to the cant application to 
a gallows. 

DOTSCHj vulva. Suppofed by fome to be from the 

The Vocabulary. 53 

German^ tasche, a pocket. The Bavarian words 
DOTSCH, DOST, DosTEN, however, ftill fignify vulva. 

DOUL (/. e. DOEL, — daul), a penny. The fourth part of 
a BLECHLEiN, or kreuzer. 

DRITLINGy a (hoe. From the Old German^ trit- 
LING, a footftool, a bench, — a diminutive of tritt, 
gradusy pajfus incejfus^ curfus pedejiris, Tretten is 
omnes pedum motusy from the Celtic^ trud ; Ancient 
Britijhy TROED, — fo that it feems very probable that 
TRiTLiNG, or DRiTLiNG, may have meant a little 
treader, or flioe. 


EMSy good. The Germany emsig, is ailiduous; die 
EMSiGE BiENE, the bufy bee. It feems to come from 
the Old German^ emmazzig, for unmuazig, occupa- 
tus et minime otiofus. After the fame fafliion is de- 
rived the French^ a-muser. 

ERFERKEN {ERSECKEui)j retschen. 

ERLJTj the mafter. The Welchy herlod, is a ftrip- 
ling, lad; herlodes, a damfel, girl. It is fuppofed 
that the word *' harlot," which originally fignified a 
bold ftripling, is from this. Chaucer fays : — 

A fturdie harlot — that was her hoftes man^ 
He was a gentil harlot^ and a kind. 

If ERLAT is from the German^ it would be from herr- 
LAUT, a diftinguiihed lord, a mafter. 

54 7/5^^ Vocabulary. 

ERLATIN^ the miftrefs. 

FELINGj a grocery, or general ftore 5 a grocer's wife. 

FETZENy or vetzen, to work, to make. Latin^ fa- 
cere. The German^ fetzen, fignifies a piece, or 

FLADER^ a bath-room, a barber's fhop. 

FLADER^FETZER, a barber. 

FLADER-FETZERIN, a barber's wife. 

FLICK^ KNAB. Hilpert refers to flugge, unfledged. 

FLOSS J foup. From the G^r;wtf», floss, a ftream; 

FLOSSEN, to flow. 

FLOSSARTy water. 

FLOSSELTy drowned. Previous to the time of Luther, 

beggars were drowned when caught ftealing. p^ide 

FLOSSLENy to make water. 
FLOSSLINGj a filh. German^ flosse, a fin. 
FLUCKAR r, poultry, birds. From the Germany fliegek, 

to fly ; literally, « fly-hard," or " faflr-flyer." 
FUNKARTy fire. Germany funke, a fpark. 
FUNKARTHOLEy an earthenware ftove. 
FUNKELNy to boil, cook, roafl:. 
GACKENSCHERRy 2l chicken. Germany gacken, to 

cackle ; scharren, to fcratch. 
GALCHy aparfon, prieft. The Old Germany gall, is 

cajlratus; the fame with gelde, — whence gol, gel. 

The Vocabulary. ^5 

fterile. The German^ kelch, is a chalice, the com- 
munion cup. Galch may be, however, fimply an 
extenfion of galle. 

GJLCHENBOSSy a parfonage. 

GJLLE^ a parfon. Hebrew^ kAhal, a prieft. 

GALLEN^ a town. 

GANHART, the devil. 

GATZAMy 2L child. Hebrew^ gatam, faid to be derived 
from an Arabic word, fignifying any one puny or 
thin. Or from the German^ katzchen, a little cat, a 

GEBICKEN^ to catch. 

GENFENy or jenfen, to fteal. 

GFAR^ a village. Hebrew ^ chXfXr, a village, hamlet. 

GIELj the mouth. 

GTTZLIN^ a morfel of bread. 

GLATHARTj a table. German^ glatt, fmooth. 

GLENZy a field. 

GLESTERICH^ glafs. German^ glitzern, to glitter. 

GLID (/. e. gleid), a harlot. 

GLIDENBOSS, a brothel. 

GLIDENFETZERINy a frequenter of brothels. 

GLISS, milk. 


GRIFFLINGj a finger. German^ greifen, to grafp. 

56 T'he Vocabulary. 

GRIN {i.e. GRYM*), food. 

GRUNHJRTj a field, /. e. very green, or green-like. 
GUGELFRANZ, 2l monk. 


LANTSKNECHT, would feem to refer to a begging 
foot-foldier. ' 

HANFSTAVD, a fhirt,— literally " hemp-fhrub." 
HANS WAL TER^ a loufe. H anz literally means Jack 
or John. The old word hansa refers to a multi- 
tude 'y Old German^ hanse, a fociety ; hans, a com- 
HANS VON GELLER, coarfe bread. 


HANZj a peafant. See Hans Walter. 

HANZINy a peafant's wife. 

HEGISy a hofpital. The Old German^ hag, is a houfe 
(from HAGEN to hedge in, inclofe), quaji locus feptus 
habitandi caufa. The Old German^ hegen, is to 
nourifh, feed, to receive into one's houfe and com- 
pany. The Su, Goth, h^ga, is to ferve. 


HERTERICHj a knife or dagger. 

HIMMELSTEIG, the Lord's Prayer,— literally, " Hea- 
ven's fteps." 

• " Giit und greym," giit. 

The Vocabulary. sy 

HOCKENy to fit, to lie. 

HOLDERKJUZ, 2l hen. 

HORKy a peafant. 

HORNBOCKy 2L cow. 

ILTISy a conftable, town fergeant. The Modern German^ 

iLTiss, or iLTis, fignifies a pole-cat, fitchet ; and 

ILTISFALLE is a trap for catchir^ pole-cats, — or, as Dr. 

Johnfon calls them, *' ftinking beafts." The Icelandic^ 

ILLTUR, is malus ; and the Cymriey ylltyr, is talpa^ 

a mole. 
JOHJMy wine. From the Hebrew^ yah'-yin, wine. 

Gengenbach renders this Johin. 
yONENy to play, — at cards, or other game of chance. 

Frenchy JOUER ? 
JONERy 2l player, a gambler. 


yUFERBJSSENy to {we^i. 

KJBJSy a head, Latiriy caput. 

KJFFRIM {jACOBSBRiJDER)y z, pilgrim to the grave of 

St. James. 
KAMMESIERERy a learned beggar. 
CAVALy a horfe. Latiriy caballus. 
CAVELLERy a flayer, a butcher. Modern Germany 


KERISy wine. Modern Germany xereswein, Iherry; 


58 The Vocabulary. 

or, from kirsche, a cherry, — kirschen-wasser, 

CHRIS TUN {jacobsbkHdek) J a pilgrim to the grave of 

St. James. 
KIELAM^ a town. 

KIMMERN^ to buy. German^ kramen, to trade. 
CLAFFOT^ a drefs, a cloak. In Gengenbach*s metrical 

verfion of the Liber Vagatorum^ this is rendered 

KLABOT, clothes. 

CLAFFOT'FETZER, a tailor. 

KLEBISj a horfe,— literally, " a clover-biter.*' 

KL EMSy punifliment, imprifonment. The German^ klem- 

MEN, fignifies to pinch. 
KLEMSEN^ to arreft, imprifon. 
KLENKSTEIN, a traitor. 
KLINGEN^ LEiER; — perhaps one who plays upon a 

lyre, from the German^ klingen, to found, klin- 

GELN, to tinkle. 
KLINGENFETZERIN, leierin,— probably a female 

player upon the lyre. 
KRACKLING^ a nut. From the German^ krachen, 

to crack. 
KRAXy a cloifter. 
KRONER^ a hufband. From the German^ kronen, to 

crown, to appoint as head or principal. 

TTie Vocabulary. 59 


LE FRANZ ^ a prieft. 

LEFRENZIN, a prieft's harlot. 

LEHEMj bread. Hebrew. A cotemporary of 

Luther^ Gengenbach, fpells the word lem. 

LINDRUNSCHELy corn-gatherers. 

LISS-MARKTj the head,— literally, " the loufe mar- 

LOEj bad, falfe. From Belgian j loh, Danijh^ la AG, 

low ; Saxon^ loh, a pit, or gulf. 

• • • • 

LOE OTLIN, the devil,— literally, " the wicked gentle- 


LUSSLINGj the ear. OldGermariy losen, or lusen, to 
liften. Beggars formerly had their ears cut off when 
detected ftealing. 

MACKUMy the town. 

MEGEN (or mengen), to drown, 


MENKLENy to eat. 

MESSy money, coin. The German^ messing, fignifies 

MOLSAMERy a traitor. 
NARUNG'TUNy to feek, or look out for food. Germany 

NAHRUNG, livelihood ; thun, to do, make. 
PFLUGER, an alms-gatherer in churches. 

6d The Vocabulary. 

PLATSCHEN^ to go about preaching. 
PLJTSCHIERER, a preacher,— from tubs, &c. 
PLICKSCHLJHER, a naked perfon. 
POLENDERj a caftle, a fort. Perhaps connedled with 

the German f boll, bollig, hard, ftifF; bollwark, a 

bailion, bulwark. 
^lEN.z dog. Z^//«, CANis. ? S^'^-'^^? 
^lENGOFFER, a dog-kUler ? 
RANTi^ z fack, pouch. German^ ranzen. 
RAULING, a baby. 
RJUSCHJRTj a ftraw matrafs. German^ rauschen, 

to ruftle. 
REEL^ St. Vitus' Dance. 
REGEL (or reger), a die (plural dice). From the G^r- 

»ztfw, REGEN, to move ? 
REGENTVURM^ 2l faufage,— literally, " a rainworm." 
RIBLING, dice. 
iJ/Ci/r/G, juft. 
RIELING, a pig. 

^/PP^^r, SECKEL. 

ROLj a mill. German, rollen, to roll. 

ROLFETZER, a miller. 

ROTBOSSy a beggar's houfe of call, beggar's home. 

RUBOL T, freedom. 

RURENy to play. German, ruhren, to touch, rattle. 

The Vocabulary. 6i 

RUMP FLING (or rumpffing), muftard. From the 

German^ rumpfen, to wriggle ? 
RUNZENj to cheat in dealing cards, gambling, &c. 
SCHEISS (scHiEss), ZAGEL,— a tail. German^ scheisse, 

excrement, dung; scheissen, to dung (imperative, 

scHEiss) ; SCHIESSEN, to flioot, dart (imperative, 

SCHIESS). Old German^ scHiESSEUylabiypracipitari^ 

cekriter moveri. See butzelman. 
SCHLINGy flax, linen. German, schliugeNj to entwine. 
SCHLUNj scHAFFEN, — to caufe, get, make, procure, or 

produce anything, 
SCHMJLKJCHELj a flanderer, German^ kachel, a 

pot, — literally, " a flandering-pot.*' 
SCHMALN^ to flander. Modern German^ schmalen. 
SCHMUNKy melted butter. 

SCHNIERENj to hang. German^ schnur, a ftring. 
SCHOCHERN, to drink. Modern German^ schenken, 

to fill, retail liquor ; schenke, a drinking-houfe, ale- 

houfe ; schenkwirth, a beer-draper. 
SCHOCHERVETZERy an innkeeper. 
SCHOSAy vulva. This is fuppofed to be from the 

Silejian^ die schoos, the lap ; Bavarian^ gschosl. 
SCHREFy a harlot. 
SCHREFENBOSS, a houfe of ill fame. 

62 The Vocabulary. 

SCHREILING^ a child, — diminutive formed from 
SCHREIEN, to cry. 

SCHRENZ, a room. 


SCHfFENZ EN, to go. 

SCHfFERZy night. Germany schwarz, black. 

SEFELy dirt. Hebrew^ shAfar, humble, mean ? 

SEFELBOSSy a houfe of office, dirt-houfe. 

SEFELNj to evacuate. 

SENFTRICHy a bed, German^ sanft, foft. 

SONNENBOSS, a brothel. 

SONZj a nobleman, gentleman. 

SON Z IN, a lady. 

SPELTING, a heller,— the fmalleft coin. 

SPITZLING, oats. Modern German, spitzling, oat- 
grafs; spitz E, the point of anything ; spitz, pointed, 
peaked. The term appears to be a diminutive. 

SPRANKAR r, fait. German^ sprenkeln, to fcatter. 

STABULERy a bread-gatherer. 

STEFUNG, ziL. Old German, zil, is ^nis, limes, ter- 
minus temporis etloci; aifo meta jaculantis,fcopus agen- 
tis, terminus oculi et mentis* 

STETTINGER, a florin, — perhaps one minted at Stettin. 

STOLFEN, to ftand. 

STREIFLING, troufers. German, streifen, to ftrip. 

The Vocabulary. 63 

STROBORER, a goofe,— literally, " a ftraw-borer." 

STROM^ a brothel. Poffibly an allufion to strummel, 
the Old Englijh Cant for ftraw, with which houfes of 
this defcription may have been littered. The cant ex^ 
preffion, strummel, was probably introduced into 
this country by the gipfies and other vagabonds from 
the Continent, in the reign of Henry VIII. 

STROMBART, a foreft. 

STUPJRT^ flour. Old Germany stoppel, cauda fru- 
mentty from the Latin^ stipula. 

TERICHj the land, or country. Latin^ terra. 

FERKIMMERN^ to fell. See kimmern. 

FERLUNSCHEN, versteen. 

VERMONEN, to cheat. 

FERSENKEN, to pawn,— literally, " to fink." 

FOPPJRTj a fool. Modern German^ foppen, to mock. 

VOPPEN^ to lie, tell falfehoods. 

WENDERICH, cheefe. 

WETTERHAN^ a hat,— literally, " a weathercock." 

WINTFANG^ 2i cloak,— literally, *' a wind-catcher." 

WISSULM, filly people. 

fFUNNENBERG^ z pretty young woman. Germany 
WONNE, pleafure, 

ZICKUSy a blind man. Latiny c^cus. 

64 The Vocabulary. 

ZWENGERINGy a jacket. Gennan^ zwangen, to 

ZWICKER^ a hangman. German^ zwicken, to pinch. 
ZWIRLING^ an eye. 

Nothing without Reason.